Scandinavian Working Papers in Economics

Papers in Innovation Studies,
Lund University, CIRCLE - Center for Innovation, Research and Competences in the Learning Economy

No 2005/6: Innovation Policies for Small and Medium Size Enterprises in Asia: An Innovation Systems Perspective

Cristina Chaminade () and Jan Vang ()
Additional contact information
Cristina Chaminade: CIRCLE, Lund University, Postal: PO Box 117, Sölvegatan 16, SE-22100 Lund, Sweden
Jan Vang: CIRCLE and Copenhagen Institute of Technology, Aalborg University, Postal: CIRCLE, Lund University, PO Box 117, SE-22100 Lund, Sweden

Abstract: The point of departure for this chapter is that in developing countries SMEs2 are responsible for the largest part of employment and a significant share of added value. And that innovation policy supporting the particularities of SMEs has been widely ignored (occasionally SMEs have even been discriminated). This chapter aims at shedding soe light on the immensely complicated issue of innovation policy for SMEs in developing countries, or more specifically Asian SMEs. The chapter applies the so-called regional innovation systems approach. In this paper, we analyze four clusters of SMEs that have been especially successful in entering the global market; special attention is paid to the so-called soft infrastructure, the industry specific needs for cluster (e.g. interaction) and RIS dynamics/polices (e.g. needs for devolution; industry specific needs for building knowledge creating institutions).The chapter is structured as follows. After introducing stylized facts on SMEs innovative performance attention is turned to the theoretical framework. Taking into account the localized nature of SMEs economic activity, our level of analysis is the regional system of innovation (RIS). We provide a general introduction, contextualize this to Asian situation, and introduce the industry differences (inspired by Pietrobelli and Rabelotti’s typology). Then we turn to the empirical section where special attention is paid to the four cases. Finally, we turn to drawing general conclusions on innovation policies and need for restructuring of Asian innovation systems (the accent is on the former).

Keywords: Innovation Policy; Developing countries; Innovation systems

JEL-codes: O30

41 pages, June 1, 2005

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